An experienced eBay buyer since 2006, Kerri McNally decided to give selling a try last year. Being a stay-at-home single mother of two, she thought it would be the perfect way to make some extra income for the holidays.
“I started selling a lot of toys around Christmas. I learned the ropes on how to sell—how to list my items Auction-style, keywords for listings, how to get positive feedback—and I got the knack of it pretty quickly.”
Finding items to sell: a pleasant surprise
Kerri began by looking around the house for things to sell, browsing through thrift stores, and watching for local sales. She also found that Facebook Marketplace is a surprise source for items to sell. “Most people are on Facebook all the time anyway, so it makes selling there easier for them and you can find some really good deals there.” She sells a variety of items from designer clothing and accessories to tablet and e-book reader accessories, but she’s focused primarily on kids’ toys, learning games, and books.
“I sell mostly kids’ items because I have a 5-year-old daughter and a 9-year-old son. They always use these games and books, so it helps me to get good deals for my own children, as well as being able to resell them and make extra money. Right now I’m doing pretty good, averaging about five sales a day.”
Tech tools plus stellar service equals success
Kerri says one of the biggest keys to her success was learning how to be as efficient as possible, especially since she’s a “one-woman operation,” and she raves about the eBay for iPad app for helping with efficiency.
“The iPad is the best buying and selling tool that I have. It’s very convenient—you can take a picture of the item with the iPad and upload it with the eBay Mobile app. It’s a really sleek and simple application. And it’s portable, so I can keep up with all my orders and shipping times anywhere. Everything is at my fingertips.”
She says there’s no secret to keeping buyers happy, that it comes down to communication. Kerri has a lot of repeat customers because she goes out of her way to accommodate them. Fast shipping also wins her positive feedback, and Kerri’s determined after some experimentation that offering free shipping is the way to go overall.
“I keep a very open line of communication with my buyers. I send an email to everyone who buys from me, and personally thank them for their purchase.
When I’m out of stock on one item in a bundle, I give the buyer the option to do a partial refund or choose another item. Many times they’ll pick another item, even though they really wanted the one I was out of. So when I get the item in again, I send it to them for free.
I’m on the go a lot, and I bring my inventory with me. When I’m at home, I print using eBay labels- which has discounted postage and sends tracking info to the buyer. If I’m away, I have labels to write on and everything I need with me.”
Secrets of selling reveal tips for buying
As she’s learned to sell on eBay, she’s discovered tips for finding deals as a buyer, too.
“As a seller, it’s always good to have your auction end on a Sunday evening or Saturday evening when people are home. The worst time is two or three in the morning during the week, but if you’re a buyer, that’s the best time to buy. You’re looking for auctions ending at the wee hours of the morning. You’re looking at totally opposite things as a buyer than you are as a seller.
If you’re a buyer, you can find the good deals when sellers don’t use specific keywords. It’s like looking for a needle in the haystack—you have to go through all the listings. But if it were keyworded properly, it would have twice as many bids and be twice the price.
The best thing you can do is research the item you want to sell. Look for another one that’s sold on eBay. Find the one that had the most bids or sold for the highest price. See how it was categorized and what keywords the seller used.”
Selling on eBay benefits the whole family
Selling on eBay has been working out so well for Kerri that she’s more committed to it than ever, especially since her profits are so useful. “I use some of it for day-to-day living, bills, and car repairs, but I’m putting away the bulk of it to save for the children, a vacation next year, and emergency funds.” She’s found a great niche for herself with kids’ books and learning toys, and considers herself an expert at mobile selling with her iPad.
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- Jump right in, it’s easy.